By Marcie Whitley

My stepfather was an alcoholic and very troubled. I DON’T DRINK BEER to this day because of the way he would come home “PISSY DRUNK” almost every night. The smell of his beer coupled with his drunken behavior literally made me nauseous. I still do and get flashbacks when I smell beer,
specifically Budweiser, on others.

Still, one of the greatest gifts he gave me was to teach me how to pray when I was 6yrs old. I will never forget that day. He was tipsy, burping here and there, and because he never learned how to read, replaced words with the slave vernacular (what we call Ebonics today). While slurring he instructed me to kneel down and had me to recite the LORD’S PRAYER Ebonics style (Awa fava, who art in heven, hollowed be di name, di kingdom cum, di wheel be dun…) because I was always very talkative and inquisitive, I asked a billion questions.

I didn’t know what a “LORD” was or why I had to say “His Prayer”. My stepfather wasn’t very good at explaining things being illiterate and dealing with a child who had a vivid imagination beyond her years. Becoming very agitated he shushed me and yelled at me telling me to “JUST SAY IT AND STOP ASKING ALL THESE QUESTIONS!!!”

After he got over his frustration of trying to explain to me what I was doing he switched gears, calmly leaned over with his hot alcoholic tobacco smelling breath, and urged for me to always keep what he just taught me in my heart and never forget it. My stepfather didn’t realize then that the one seed that he planted would save my life forever and become the foundation to which my faith has been

If my illness were to ever progress to the extent of me losing my mental faculties completely one thing that I believe that I will always remember is…”Our Father, who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come….Many times some people look back on their lives and hold grudges because of how they didn’t grow up or because of who people in their lives were not.

But you never know how that screwed up person could have been planted to develop our character and push us toward a better understanding of the Love of God or to help prepare us for the mission that God has entrusted us with. Now that he is dead, I still don’t hate my stepfather to this day because even though he subjected me to dysfunction, instability, and abuse; I may not be the woman I am today had I not went through the fire. I thank God anyways for my past. I am not ashamed nor do I envy others because what Satan meant for evil God meant for my good.